Monday, November 1, 2010

Teen Inklings Vol. 16: Rejection

Last night I finished writing my fantasy novella (The Scarlet Key) for submission to a publisher. I shipped it off (via e-mail, as the guidelines required) and it's probably now sitting un-opened in the publisher's inbox. What will happen with it? I don't know. But I hope you get the chance to read it someday.

A bit of shameless backstory: After I first finished The Scarlet Key I was on a bit of an emotional high. I decided it was good enough to submit to a press--something I'd never done before. I found and bought an envelope big enough to fit my story into (not as easy as it sounds), and shipped it off. Shortly after I received a rejection letter detailing all the reasons I wasn't good enough.

I'm not a stranger to rejection. But it's interesting how things are so subjective, especially in the literary world.

For example: Contest judge #1 says I have wonderful voice, a sound grasp of my craft, and descriptions that bring my storyworld to life. Judge #2 says I have no voice, no talent with my genre, and no idea what I'm doing when it comes to description.

True story.

I sometimes wonder if writers let their bitterness get a hold of them more often than the average person. This industry doesn't exactly match the typical writer's personality, and it doesn't help that we're all so darn opinionated. I've observed that unpublished writers are generally more cranky than the published ones, and I won't say that doesn't make sense. It does, and it's the reason for all those rude comments on agent blogs. But there is a good way to handle rejection and there is a bad way.

If someone rejects you, DON'T GIVE UP! Take that rejection and funnel it into your efforts to better yourself, while realizing that one person's opinion isn't always the right (or best) opinion. Most of all, though, don't let rejection get you down. If you truly aren't ready yet, realize that if you persist you'll eventually succeed. Success isn't always measured by receiving the title Published Author, and in the end it's God you have to please, not others, and certainly not yourself.

As I mentioned, I'm waiting for feedback on The Scarlet Key. I believe in the story. I hope things work out and it gets published. However, I believe I've already succeeded at this writing game. How many prospective writers actually finish a novel during their lifetime?

(Oh, and I'll let you decide which of the aforementioned judges had checked the "Published Author" box at the bottom of their critique. ;)